Last night Chicago dodged a bullet. Having been throttled 5-1 in game one by the Canucks, they found themselves trailing 2-0 after the first five minutes of game-two. Heading into Vancouver down two games to none would have been extremely un-good for the Blackhawks.
Brent Seabrook’s goal at the 7:40 mark of the first period closed the gap and the score remained 2-1 going into the third. But that’s where Chicago took over as Patrick Sharp scored a short-handed goal and Kris Versteeg gave the Hawks the lead with just 90 seconds remaining. Patrick Kane then added an empty netter 42 seconds later, his 6th goal of the post-season.
The Hawks outshot the Canucks 13-6 in the final 20 minutes despite taking the only two penalties in that final frame.
Seabrook’s goal was his first of the post-season and he also added two assists Monday night, finishing the game a +4 for Chicago.
Earlier in the evening Boston once again slipped by Philadelphia 3-2 thanks to Milan Lucic’s blast with just 2:57 remaining in the third period. With the win they head down to Philly needing just two wins in the next five games to advance to the Conference Finals for the first time since, I believe, they were swept by the Penguins in 1992.
During a second-period scrap, Philadelphia’s Daniel Carcillo complained that Marc Savard had chomped on his finger.
“Last time I have been bit was in grade school. It is not a good feeling. It is pretty cowardly,” Carcillo said after the game. “Guys don’t bite. Men don’t bite.”
Savard…ahem…turned and pointed his finger back at the Flyer.
“He pummeled on my face,” Savy slyly said. “He pulled on my teeth, so I guess that’s biting when a guy tries and pull your front teeth out.”
Tuukka Rask is now 6-2 in the playoffs with a 2.32 GAA and .922 SV% while Boston’s 92.9 % effective penalty kill leads all teams in the post-season so far.
Tonight, the Montreal Canadiens will look to take advantage of their split in games one and two played in Pittsburgh. After suffering an off night in Friday night’s game one…allowing four power play goals on four Penguin’s opportunities…they held Pittsburgh’s offense at bay, giving up one goal and denying them on all three power play chances.
The Habs have killed off 35 of the 40 man-advantages they have faced so far in the nine games they have played in the playoffs…35 of the 36 not counting game-one against the Pens. Special teams play could play a major role in this series given Pittsburgh’s 31.4% effective power play leads all eight teams remaining in the playoffs. If the Habs PK unit continues to shine, that can only help them in their second consecutive upset bid this spring, (DUH5).
Michael Cammalleri’s 8 goals tie him with Vancouver’s Mikael Samuelsson for second most during the playoffs to date and his 13 overall points are third. Sidney Crosby, of course, leads all scorers with 16 points, (5 goals 11 assists).
Also, there is Jaroslav Halak… whose .931 SV% is tops of all keepers not-yet eliminated from post-season play. Sunday he stopped 38 of 39 Penguins shots faced in their 3-1 game-two win.
Later on in Motown, the Sharks will look to continue feeding on octopi. The Big Red Borg face what can really only be classified as a “must win” situation after dropping both games played in San Jose. The Sharks Joe Pavelski is making his case for the Conn Smythe Trophy with a playoff-high 9 goals and 14-point performance in 8 games played. He’s a +7 as well.
Evgeni Nabokov continues his good work this spring. He is now 6-2 with a .916 SV% and playoff-low 2.02 GAA…this even though the Red Wings have netted six goals on 54 shots in their two losses.
Meanwhile…Down On The Farm
The Chicago Wolves find themselves tied with the Texas Stars at one game apiece with the Texas Stars in their AHL Western Conference playoffs series. The Wolves outlasted Texas to win game-two 4-3 in double overtime Sunday…the winning goal being scored by Anthony Stewart, his second of the game and 6th of the playoffs.
Patrice Cormier thought he had scored his first goal as a member of the Wolves during regulation, but the refs waived it off citing he’d lost sight of the puck. Later during the first overtime, a Chicago goal was disallowed as it was ruled kicked into the net.
Along with Stewart’s two goals, Jason Krog and Spencer Machacek also scored for the Wolves while Peter Mannino stopped 35 of the 38 shots he faced for the win. Mannino allowed 4 goals on 28 shots while Krog, Stewart and Joey Crabb scored for Chicago.
Texas won game-one 4-3 in overtime last Friday night on a power play goal by Garrett Stafford while Crabb sat in the box for high sticking.
The series now moves to Texas for the next three games starting with tonight’s game-three.